Reuters reports that 17 members of Congress have asked U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to expedite consideration of sending large strike drones to Ukraine.
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Several months ago, the Joe Biden administration wanted to launch deliveries of strike drones to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. However, that process has stalled due to concerns that U.S. technology could fall into enemy hands.
The Pentagon's Defense Technology Security Administration, which is responsible for preserving advanced technologies, has asked it to stop supplying drones to Ukraine. Although, according to three Reuters sources, officials have approved the transfer of MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones manufactured by General Atomics.
A $1 billion investment has been made in the development of such drones, costing about $100 million. It includes four drones, a ground control station and a satellite communications system. The UAV is based on the famous MQ-1 Predator drone. Weapons include AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, AIM-92 Stinger and Viper Strike bombs.
The letter, which was signed by Republicans and Democrats, refers to Ukraine's territorial gains during a successful counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region. U.S. officials stressed that the use of more powerful drones would help Ukraine's Armed Forces hold the territories liberated from occupation.
Image: FlightGlobal, U.S. Army